SMBs want CRM simplicity and compatibility

By : |April 6, 2009 0

REDMOND, WASHINGTON:  Findings from a recent customer relationship management (CRM) survey by Avidian Technologies has found that a majority of small to medium businesses (SMBs) are unfamiliar with the terms CRM and software-as-a-service (SaaS), and that those who do know about CRM connect it to products that only apply CRM in indirect ways.

Of those surveyed, 70 percent reported they did not know what CRM meant and only 47 percent were even sure they had heard of it. Familiarity with SaaS was even lower, with 74 percent reporting they were unfamiliar with the term.

Of those involved with CRM, 32 percent were in the early discussion or product selection stage of implementing a CRM solution. Most of the respondents said they are looking for CRM to improve customer service (46 percent), increase efficiency when working with customers (44 percent) and increase productivity (45 percent).

In spite of the lack of familiarity with CRM, those companies who have implemented CRM solutions have seen the results exceed their expectations in the following areas:

  • Increasing efficiency working with customers: 64 percent vs. 52 percent expected
  • Increasing sales: 28 percent vs. 20 percent expected
  • Improving business insight: 36 percent vs. 28 percent expected
  • Increasing visibility into the sales pipeline: 40 percent vs. 32 percent expected

The most common products being considered for CRM are Microsoft Outlook and QuickBooks (31 percent and 28 percent, respectively), which are also the products most familiar to respondents (67 percent and 47 percent, respectively). The survey also found that most respondents (67 percent) want CRM that runs inside of Outlook, and 62 percent said they want CRM data stored in Outlook. In addition, 69 percent want a solution that runs over the Internet, yet 57 percent want a solution that is also available offline.

“This research confirms what we are seeing in the field,” said James Wong, Avidian’s CEO. “While some companies may be unfamiliar with the term ‘CRM,’ ultimately they want the services this kind of technology provides. This illustrates that CRM is a growing industry with viable growth potential in the SMB market. They are also looking for a tool that is simple and effective, two areas in which Avidian far excels beyond other CRM offerings.”

Eighty-two percent of respondents also reported that the most important feature was ease of use, followed closely by not requiring significant support (79 percent) and the ability to customize an existing sales routine (74 percent). In short, SMBs are looking for simplicity and compatibility.

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